Is the postal service shooting itself in the foot?

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The Post Office in Craftsbury Common has strange hours these days.  Residents say they are inconvenient, but the USPS says decreasing hours is the only way to keep some of these offices open. Photos by David Dudley

The Post Office in Craftsbury Common has strange hours these days. Residents say they are inconvenient, but the USPS says decreasing hours is the only way to keep some of these offices open. Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle October 29, 2014

by David Dudley

In May of 2012 the United States Postal Service (USPS) implemented the Post Plan, which was devised to curb mounting debt, and prevent thousands of offices, many of them rural post offices, such as those in Greensboro Bend, Craftsbury Common, and Albany, from being shut down altogether. The USPS estimated that the plan would be up and running by September of 2014.

For many rural offices in Orleans County, the Post Plan means decreased window hours, which is affecting local businesses that depend on the Postal Service for shipping. Also, many employees have seen their hours cut, and people who work full-time are having trouble getting to the post office while it’s open.

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Are hops making a comeback in Vermont?

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Local hops cones growing at Parker Pie in West Glover.  Photos by Aaron Dentel-Post

Local hops cones growing at Parker Pie in West Glover. Photos by Aaron Dentel-Post

copyright the Chronicle October 22, 2014

by Aaron Dentel-Post

In 1850, Vermont grew 8.2 percent of the nation’s hops, with Orleans County accounting for 77,605 pounds of the crop a year. The crop was so important that children were taken out of school at harvest time, and men took time off from their regular jobs.

But it was the women, according to Kurt Staudter, executive director of the Vermont Brewers Association and author of Vermont Beer, who were paid the most because they were gentler when picking the easily bruised cones of the plant.

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Employees to buy the Chronicle

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Drawing by Anna P. Baker

Drawing by Anna P. Baker

copyright the Chronicle September 17, 2014

Eleven long-time employees of the Chronicle have agreed in principle to buy the weekly newspaper from its founding publishers, Chris and Ellen Braithwaite.

 

While some details remain to be worked out, the basic elements of the deal have been agreed to, and the purchase should be complete by early 2015.

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Louis Garneau celebrates new U.S. headquarters

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Governor Peter Shumlin helps Louis Garneau cut a ribbon to symbolize the opening of his company’s new Derby facility.  Flanking the pair, from left to right, are Paul Garneau, Mr. Garneau’s father; Josée Ferland, company vice-president; Jeanine Garneau, Mr. Garneau’s mother; Megan Sullivan of Congressman Peter Welch’s office; Monique Arsenault, Mr. Garneau’s wife; William Garneau; and Victoria Garneau.  Edouard Garneau, Mr. Garneau’s other son, is not visible in the photograph.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Governor Peter Shumlin helps Louis Garneau cut a ribbon to symbolize the opening of his company’s new Derby facility. Flanking the pair, from left to right, are Paul Garneau, Mr. Garneau’s father; Josée Ferland, company vice-president; Jeanine Garneau, Mr. Garneau’s mother; Megan Sullivan of Congressman Peter Welch’s office; Monique Arsenault, Mr. Garneau’s wife; William Garneau; and Victoria Garneau. Edouard Garneau, Mr. Garneau’s other son, is not visible in the photograph. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle August 20, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — A champagne toast celebrated the opening of the brand new U.S. headquarters of a family business that started in a Quebec garage 30 years ago. Louis Garneau, the founder of the company that bears his name, raised a glass along with Governor Peter Shumlin, state senators Bobby Starr and John Rodgers, local officials, and a host of other guests Thursday morning, August 14.

The toast followed the ceremonial ribbon cutting that inaugurated the 60,000-square-foot building.

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Entrepreneurs pitch ideas in a Lowell barn

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Trish Sears is reflected in a mirror as entrepreneur Justin Larose presents his pitch.  Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

Trish Sears is reflected in a mirror as entrepreneur Justin Larose presents his pitch. Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle August 13, 2014

by Bethany M. Dunbar

LOWELL — What do a doggie treat maker, someone who wants to make an alcoholic tea, and an online marketing consultant have in common? They were all gathered in a barn in Lowell last week to make business pitches to a group of people who have the wisdom and financial resources to help them make their small businesses grow into big ones.

It was the first annual Barn Pitch, held Thursday, August 7.

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Stenger admits investors were informed late

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The Tram Haus Lodge is the first project using EB-5 funds to be completed at Jay Peak.  Some investors in the project are unhappy about changes to the ownership structure made unilaterally by Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, the general partners in the project.  Investors were notified of the changes nine months after they were put into effect.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

The Tram Haus Lodge is the first project using EB-5 funds to be completed at Jay Peak. Some investors in the project are unhappy about changes to the ownership structure made unilaterally by Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, the general partners in the project. Investors were notified of the changes nine months after they were put into effect. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle August 6, 2014 

by Joseph Gresser

JAY — Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros didn’t live up to state standards when they waited nine months before notifying 35 EB-5 investors they had dissolved the partnership that owned the Tram Haus Lodge at Jay Peak Resort, according to Brent Raymond, director of International Trade and the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center.

Mr. Stenger, co-owner of Jay Peak along with Mr. Quiros, agrees that the notification process was botched.

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Safety and traffic lead AnC Bio Act 250 concerns

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A rendering of what the AnC Bio plant would look like from Lake Memphremagog.

A rendering of what the AnC Bio plant would look like from Lake Memphremagog.

copyright the Chronicle July 23, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — The AnC Bio facility started down the road to Act 250 approval Monday with a site visit from members of the District #7 Environmental Commission and an initial hearing.

Despite wide interest in the project and questions from neighbors of the biotech facility slated to be built at the site of the old Bogner plant, few Newport residents attended the hearing. Nor were there any representatives of state agencies present, aside from those working for the environmental commission.

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Walmart hearings: Residents worried about increased traffic

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walmart giselle web

Giselle Seymour, who spent almost a decade gathering signatures to encourage Walmart to come to Derby, celebrates with developer Jeff Davis at Tuesday night’s Act 250 hearing. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle June 18, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — As determined by the ballot and by anecdotal evidence, a large percentage of Derby residents favor the new Walmart Super Center slated for construction on Route 5.  But that doesn’t mean some don’t have serious reservations about the project.

Those reservations, particularly ones concerning how the 160,000-square-foot store will affect traffic and the economy of the town were well aired in a pair of hearings held at the Derby Municipal Building Monday and Tuesday.

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Minimum wage hike will have ripple effect

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min wage webcopyright the Chronicle June 11, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

Local employers say a rise in pay for those at the bottom of the ladder is sure to increase salaries for those on the higher rungs.

That will be good news for many workers, they say, but could come at the cost of increased prices for goods and services.

Vermont’s minimum wage will rise on New Year’s Day 2015 and on each January 1 until 2018. The Vermont Legislature voted to increase it from the present level of $8.73 an hour to $10.50 in four annual jumps.

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Hair salons are bright spot in local business

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Marie Turmel Kroeger sits inside her new 300-square foot salon.  Visible in the mirror is a portrait of women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, painted by Ms. Kroeger.  Photo by Natalie Hormilla

Marie Turmel Kroeger sits inside her new 300-square foot salon. Visible in the mirror is a portrait of women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, painted by Ms. Kroeger. Photo by Natalie Hormilla

copyright the Chronicle April 30, 2014 

by Natalie Hormilla

Marie Turmel Kroeger opened a hair salon in a refurbished milk house in Craftsbury last month with confidence and enthusiasm.

“It’s called faith in oneself,” she said, just a couple of weeks into officially opening The Milk House Hair Studio on King Farm Road.

Ms. Kroeger’s business offers a range of services, including hair cutting, coloring, highlighting, and styling, and other treatments like relaxed permanent waves and facial waxing. She also does makeup for, and consults on, events like weddings or professional makeovers.

Everything happens in a 300-square-foot space, restored and relocated from across the street by her husband, Ben. The space is decorated with artwork mostly painted by Ms. Kroeger herself.

“It’s really, really quaint, and very personalized,” she said.

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